Friday, December 28, 2007

Broad shoulders

Don't know as I have broad shoulders, but it looks as if I am gonna need them. According to the Zenit article, How Dads Can Help Raise Strong Daughters my job just got double tough. As I have one daughter about to enter the teen years, and now a new one to keep me on my toes..
Research shows that a father's influence builds up self-esteem, helps his daughter to avoid sex, drugs, alcohol, and stay in college. What it is that a father offers is that he carries an authority in his daughter's eyes. This authority is not ascribed to the mother, not that she is not important, but a father's influence is different.

When a girl is little, her dad is her primary male love relationship. When he gives her something as a man, she learns lessons about men, setting a template in those early years on her heart about what to expect, to think, to feel, and know about men from there on out, affecting even her relationship to God, because Christ is a man.
That last line is enough to make even the best father tremble. Not just Christ being a man, but God being the Father and whom all fathers are in the image of. Like I said, Lord help me in my task. Hopefully I will do better with my second daughter than I did with my first. Not that she is a failure, but I look back at my decisions and failings as a new father with sadness. How much more I could have done. Hopefully I didn't screw up my first child with my stubborn and unserving ways.

The section that struck me most in this excellent article has me looking deeper into all my children.
Real joy and happiness comes when kids understand that they have a purpose in life, and a mission to fulfill. The only way to get them to understand this is to look beyond self and doing good for others.

This is the source of real transformation, but this can't happen without humility, the opposite of which is pride. When parents instill humility, a kid understands that he or she is important, and lovable, but not separate from others in their humanity. If a kid really wants to feel good about himself, humility brings people closer, whereas pride separates.

A kid raised without humility will always strive to be better than others, smarter than others, but can only bring a frustrated "happiness" because no one can always be the best at everything. True happiness for kids, then, is to give them a purpose to fulfill through working, striving, giving to and for others.

I can see that lack of humility in at least one of my boys too. Wonder where they got THAT trait? Anyone that rights a book on "how to raise children" and seems to have it all figured out either is 1) deceived or 2) done raising children. The rest of us must keep learning and adjusting. Our fallen nature and the supreme task we face dictate that much.

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